The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

wheat flours, protein percentages and fortifying flour

cranbo's picture

wheat flours, protein percentages and fortifying flour

EDIT: based on some feedback, I have corrected my original post. 

I set out to locate a list of protein levels in common flours, and I found a handy list, reposting for your perusal:

Flour Names & Protein Percentages

  • King Arthur Queen Guinevere Cake Flour (8.0%) 
  • King Arthur Round Table Pastry Flour (9.2%) 
  • Caputo 00 Extra Blu Flour (9.5%) 
  • Generic All-Purpose Flour (10.3%) 
  • King Arthur All-Purpose Flour (11.7%) 
  • Caputo 00 Pizzeria Flour (12.0%) 
  • General Mills Harvest King Flour (12.0%) 
  • Robin Hood All-Purpose Flour (12.0%) 
  • King Arthur Bread Flour (12.7%) 
  • Bob's Red Mill Semolina Flour (12.9%) 
  • Five Roses All-Purpose Flour (13.0%) 
  • Eagle Mills All-Purpose Flour (13.3%) 
  • King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour (14.0%) 
  • King Arthur Whole Wheat Organic Flour (14.0%) 
  • King Arthur Sir Lancelot Flour (14.2%) 
  • Arrowhead Mills Vital Wheat Gluten Flour (65.0%) 
  • Hodgson Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour (66.6%) 
  • Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour (75.0%) 
  • Gillco Vital Wheat Gluten Flour (75.0%) 
  • King Arthur Vital Wheat Gluten Flour (77.8%) 
FYI, this came from a very handy page & calculator I came across at
The reason I was interested in this is because I wanted to find out how much my protein would be boosted by adding vital wheat gluten to my flour. 
I usually use KA All Purpose, which has 11.7% protein. To supplement, I planned to use Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten Flour. 
  • 1 cup KA AP flour weighs  about 125g. If 11.7% is protein, then there is about 14.63g of protein per cup of this flour
  • 1 tbsp of Bobs Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten weighs about 8.5g. If 75% is protein, then 6.375g of protein per tbsp of this flour.
  • 1 cup KA AP + 1 tbsp Bob's Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten = 21g TOTAL protein
  • 21g of protein / 133.5g total ingredient weight = .161, or 15.73% of protein in the flour mixture

You can use this same method to calculate the adjusted protein in your flour. 


What's interesting to me is that at the recommended dosage, adding 1 tbsp. of Bob's Red Mill gluten to every 1 cup of KA flour would make an extremely high protein flour, higher than what is typically commercially available. I wonder if it would make it totally unusable & gummy?

Then again, if you had a relatively weak, generic AP flour (9% protein), then 1 tbsp per cup would probably bump you to a very respectable 13.2% protein level, close to that of KA Bread Flour. For those that have actually tried this technique, I wonder if it actually performs in a similar way (e.g., similar to KA Bread flour) or do other flour factors (such as ash content, type of wheat, etc) play more into the overall performance of the flour and resulting bread?


proth5's picture

I spent some time with a distinguished group of bakers, some professional millers, and some folks who develop wheat varieties last year and the discussion wound around to the fact that protein content was not the be-all and end-all in the ability to measure how flour would act in actual baking.

Most much prefer the output from an alveograph which provides a graph that measures essentially a combination of extensibilty and elasticity (I'm over simplifying here, but I don't have my reference material.) I speculate that there is more going on in the flour than can be corrected by adding additional vital wheat gluten.

What I have seen in my own whole wheat flours is that if you look at single factor lab results (like just gluten, or just starch damage, or just mixing tolerance) the flour acts in ways that are unexpected because there are balancing factors contained in the wheat kernel.

I guess what I am saying is that the wheat that had 8% protein was never meant to act in ways that a higher protien flour was meant to act and just adding gluten will not make it so. It may change how the flour acts, but won't make it into something it never was.

What most of these bakers considered was changing the total profile of the flour by the judicious use of pre ferments. (And, of course not using flours that are completely unsuitable for bread baking to bake bread.)

I think about this from time to time...

cranbo's picture

...and sort of what I suspected. Thanks for the feedback proth5. 

I totally agree about preferments, they can significantly alter the overall character of the resulting dough. 

Your comments remind me of a blind chocolate tasting that I attended in France which was run by Valrhona. We tasted a number of unmarked chocolates, and were asked about the cacao levels (%)  in each chocolate. Many modern chocolates are marked with cacao % as an indicator of the "chocolatiness" of the end product. 

As it turns out, in many cases the ones that tasted the most chocolatey (and I did experience this myself) didn't necessarily have the highest cacao levels. In large part it was the terroir where the nibs came from that affected that characteristic, and related to that, the level of acidity of the chocolate, not to mention the other roasting/processing that takes place. 

The point of this is that usually a single figure (such as gluten or cacao %) is often a poor indicator of behavior/performance in a food setting. I guess it's up to people that work in the industry (as well as consumers) to develop a more standardized, meaningful way of communicating about levels of quality or performance.

Lots of food for thought...

rjerden's picture

Thanks for the link! I mix flours all the time and this will definitely save me time and reduce errors.

RonRay's picture

The data I determined on KAF's AP flour was 120g/cup and strangely enough, that is about what KAF also says. Is it possible the your figure of 145g is in error?

I can get close to 145g packed as tightly as possible, and much less than 120g at the softest possible packing, but I'd not use either of those methods as a standard practice.



cranbo's picture

Yes, you're right, I ran some tests yesterday, weighing several cups of flour on my Salter scale. 


Test #1: I spooned flour into cup measure, as wayne suggested


  • Supermarket generic "bread" flour: 120 and 121g, respectively
  • King Arthur AP flour: 124 and 128g, respectively


Test #2: I "fluffed up" the flour in the container, then scooped it using my cup measure. 


  • Supermarket generic "bread" flour: 134 and 138g, respectively
  • King Arthur AP flour: 136 and 140g, respectively
My original figure was for scooping a cup of KA, so there likely was some error involved. I'll re-edit my original post. 



RonRay's picture

No problem. It happens to most of us at one time or another.


nicodvb's picture

Bob's Red Mill Organic Soy Flour (35.0%)

How can there be gluten in soy flour? Soy doesn't contain gluten.

What you compiled seems to be a table of protein percentages.


cranbo's picture

Yes, nomenclature attack!

I've updated my original post to reflect more accurate nomenclature, and removed the soy flour that was in the list. 

So my next questions are:

  1. how does protein percentage in wheat flour relate to amount of gluten?
  2. what percentage of protein in wheat flour is gluten, and what is some other protein? 


nicodvb's picture

is that -at least in my opinion, based on my experience- there's no relationship between indicated protein percentage and amount of gluten. I had flours indicating 13% proteins that couldn't even bear 10 minutes of intensive kneading, while another one with 13.5% could stand without problems 45 minutes of kneading for a brioche with 1:1 butter:flour. The more you worked the dough the more it gained consistence. ANother one with 11% proteins became so tough with kneading that I had to add water every few minutes.

Moreover there are other factors to consider than the simple amount of gluten. There are other very important characteristics, for example the P/L factor that is a number that indicates the ratio between elasticity and extensibility. A high number (for example >= 0.7) indicates tenacious doughs that tend to keep the shape quite well, while lower values lead to flat doughs that tend  to spread more than they grow in height.  Very high values (>>1) are not appropriate for baking bread.  Unfortunately these values are rarely indicated.

I don't know what's the percentages of gluten-forming proteins in flour, sorry.

cranbo's picture

Hi nicodbv,

Thanks for the info. I looked up P/L factor and found some interesting information

Hmmm. This kind of info (like P/L) isn't readily available from flour manufacturers, is it? 


nicodvb's picture

I had to learn to be a bit of a blockbuster to get those data from italian millers. Several are responsive and send you the specs, others are not.

That paper is very illuminating, but italian bakers seem to be too inclined  towards more extensible doughs. I have to deal every day with flours with a P/L around 0.5-0.6 and I find that they tend to spread too much. I'd rather get something around 0.7.

Oliver's picture

Since bran is supposed to interfere with gluten networking, I wouldn't expect protein to predict performance when comparing between refined (a.k.a "white") wheat flour and whole wheat. That's even if you're only counting the protein that's gluten. I don't know if there are differences among the refinement processes, such that some white flours come out more whole (with more non-gluten proteins) than others.